Teachers arrested for abandoning class to ride Boda Bodas

Monday October 16 2017

Boda Boda cyclists at the Busia border

Boda Boda cyclists at the Busia border district. FILE PHOTO 


BUSIA. Two teachers in the eastern Busia border district have apologised in writing to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr Walter Iriama, before whom they were paraded for allegedly absconding from duty.
Mr Odia Henry and Mr David Wabwire, teachers at Kanjo and Bukalikha primary schools, respectively, were arrested last Friday.

Parents accused them of abandoning classes to operate commercial motorcycle taxis, known as Boda Boda, while continuing to draw salaries.

The duo denied the charges. They argued in defence that they were hardworking individuals and only engaged in Boda Boda business during their free time in order to supplement their “low” salaries.
A primary school teacher earns between Shs400,000-Shs500,000, depending on qualification, experience and administrative responsibilities.

The Busia teachers told CAO Iriama that they picked loans to buy the motorcycles and, as such, had to find alternative ways to make money to repay.
Following their defence, the CAO, who oversees civil servants in a district, gave them two alternatives: either to re-dedicate themselves fully to teaching or risk being interdicted.

Both agreed to leave Boda Boda business, and subsequently authored apology letters to be filed in their official records.

One of the teachers, Mr Wabwire, promised to leave his Dabani home and shift to stay at his place of work while Mr Odia committed that he would hire another rider to continue with his Boda Boda business.

Busia is the birth place of Boda Boda business, a term originally coined to describe cyclists using paths to cross from the Ugandan border to the Kenyan side to discreetly transport smuggled items.

The District Education Officer, Rev Barnabas Muniala, attributes the problem of teachers’ absenteeism to weak school Management Committees whose members, he says, are compromised by administrators to effectively supervise schools.